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Heart disease

What is meant by heart disease?

‘Heart disease’ and ‘cardiovascular disorder’ refer to any condition in which the heart’s ability to function properly is impaired; such conditions are the leading cause of death in the United States.  Some commonly diagnosed heart conditions include:

•          Cardiomyopathy – Weakening of the heart muscle or a change in its structure, impairing its pumping of blood. Symptoms include shortness of breath, swelling of feet, irregular breathing, and loss of appetite.

•          Aortic stenosis – The aortic valve does not open fully, restricting the flow of blood.

•          Arrhythmias – The pulse is either too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia) due to impairment in the electrical impulses that coordinate the contractions of the heart muscle.

•          Coronary heart disease – The small blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the heart become congested with plaque and fatty materials.

•          Heart attack/myocardial infarction. The heart muscle becomes starved of oxygen when its own blood vessels become blocked.

Though some of these disorders are hereditary, many risk factors for heart conditions—including obesity—are controllable:

•          Smoking increases a person’s risk of heart conditions by up to four times.

•          High cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease; other conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes increase this risk.

•          Hypertension or high blood pressure adds to the heart’s workload, causing the heart muscle to become thicker and lose flexibility.

•          Physical inactivity is a known risk factor. Physical activity of any kind can help control cholesterol, blood pressure, and even diabetes.

•          Diabetes poses a serious risk in initiating cardiovascular conditions. A high number of obese diabetics succumb to some form of heart disease.

Obesity and heart disease

Obesity is linked to several chronic conditions including diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, and heart disease. Being overweight increases blood cholesterol and triglycerides and decreases HDL or “good cholesterol,” which is known to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. Obesity can also lead to diabetes, which raises the risk of heart disease.

Bariatric surgery for obese heart patients

There is an intrinsic link between obesity and several dangerous conditions including heart disease. Weight loss goes a long way in helping to protect the heart, and bariatric procedures have an established track record of achieving significant and sustained weight loss. Bariatric surgery induces weight loss by restricting the amount of food intake, the amount of food that can be metabolized, or both. These surgeries offer a serious alternative for obese patients who have not been able to lose weight through dieting and exercise.

AMISurgery offers a number of options, including adjustable gastric band (AGB), Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB), biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch (BPD-DS), and vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG).

Research shows a significant drop in predicted cardiovascular risk for patients who have undergone bariatric surgery as compared to obese individuals who have not. Weight loss after surgery takes some of the strain off the heart, reduces the severity of diabetes, and lowers the risk of heart failure. Biochemical markers and indicators for heart disease, for example cholesterol, show a drop after surgery. However, there is still not enough evidence to prove that weight loss surgery can actually prevent cardiovascular events.